S3 RPG system and “that cat”

Since the end of NaNoWriMo, I have been thinking about my story setting as a setting for an RPG using the S3 system.

S3 (sometimes written 3S because I’m inconsistent) is the Story Skills System. It was designed as a no grind, no levels, story-driven RPG system. I wrote about it here. I also wrote about using the story as a setting here.

This post exists to do two things.

  1. Give you access to the core mechanics for free.
  2. Talk about creating an interesting RPG evening.

The S3 RPG system

The core rules, including explanation and expansion, covers about 12 sides of A$. In other words, it is very simple. I’ve circulated it, although not very widely among some friends that I hope will play the first few games.

Story Skills RPG System Version 1.2.1 is an updated version which I hope is a whole lot easier to read and understand than the first version.

Creating an interesting RPG evening

Now on to what I think is the more interesting part of this post – the nuts and bolts of creating a fun evening for my friends.

What I am thinking about is something that captures the spirit of escape the room games but in the form of a narrative RPG. This represents more than a few problems as escape the room puzzles tend to be very tactile and require props. I’m not sure how I will solve that, yet.

The adventure will be for the “Mad Science” setting which is the setting that involves Jack and “that cat”. That immediately takes combat off the table as a mechanism for dispute resolution. So already we are about as far away from my Pathfinder slash DnD 3.5 roots as it is possible to get.

I’m calling the adventure “escape the world”. In this adventure, players are tasked with getting out of an entire reality. To start with though, the players will have to find their way out of a locked garage. There are currently about three prescribed methods of escape from that first room. The best solution helps advance the plot in all sorts of ways whereas other solutions may have them revisiting the room to look for more clues later.

One of the touches I am most pleased with so far is the LAN message board. Assuming the players figure out how to connect to the WiFi they will have access to a whole host of additional clues. I’m thinking about setting up a web server to run on my WiFi to emulate the in-game WiFi and phone network which would require the players to use their mobiles to actually play the game. I’m not sure if that is a great idea or a really bad one yet.

Getting the balance right

That’s about as far as I have gotten. I’m struggling to come up with puzzles that are the right balance of fun, RP, and problem-solving given that I have never run anything like this sort of game before.

Some of the potential players are escape room veterans but RPG newbies which should be fine, I think. Others are RPG veterans that have never done an escape room. Finding the right balance is not easy.

If you have any idea I would be very pleased to hear them.

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